the pathway to dietary health
you avoid carbohydrates, only eat organic or drink
your tea with soya milk?
Dietitians Association of Australia spokeswoman
Tania Ferraretto, who practices in South
Australia, said research shows our eating habits
have changed fundamentally.
We are consuming more kilojoules and have lost the
art of cooking for ourselves. On top of that, we
are turning to faddy diets for a quick health fix.
"Whereas 50 years ago, people were eating a lot of
home-cooked meals now we're getting take aways and
we're going through the drive-through or ordering
pizza," she said.
"That has really changed the way people eat.
That's also changed the quality of our diet.
We're time-poor compared to people in the past. We
have higher disposable incomes and can afford to
buy food out of the home more often.
"People are cooking less but also have fewer
Ms Ferraretto said we all also seemed to be
influenced by food trends, promising a quick fix.
The main one currently is the low-carbohydrate
She said the problem with these fads, was no one
knew their long-term effects.
"Over the past 50 years there has been an increase
in confusing information," she said.
"People get to the point where they don't know
what to believe. Twenty years ago, we were
worrying about fat. We are now worrying about
carbs, it's just a new spin on an old thing."
Australian Consumers Association food policy
officer Clare Hughes has witnessed an explosion in
the range of foods aimed at different trends.
"There's lots happening in product development but
also manufacturers are responding to what happens
in diet and nutrition areas," she said.
One company has launched a low-carbohydrate range
of foods and many products now carry a logo
showing their glycaemic index, or GI, rating.
Aside from weight loss, however, Ms Hughes said
consumers were making choices to buy such products
as organic food for a variety of reasons.
"Some people call them credence values coming into
consumer choices," she said. "It's not just about
taste and value."
The National Association for Sustainable
Agriculture Australia said the organic market is
worth around $200 to 250 million, with growth
estimates of 20 to 25 per cent a year. Major
supermarket chains, Coles and Woolworths, carry
organic ranges and the market is booming in South
Wilson's Organics,in Gouger St, city, started in
the Central Market about eight years ago and has
gone from strength to strength. "It's an ever
increasing spiral – it is a successful and dynamic
industry," owner Angela Trevor said.
"There are more organic shops springing up. I
think it's important for us to see the wave of
change in retail. Everybody should be organic."
She claimed consumers were choosing organic
because they wanted to know where the food they
ate came from and how it had been produced.
Flinders University Associate Professor in
nutrition and dietetics Lynne Daniels has noticed
trends in our eating habits – from our passion for
bottled water to our love affair with nutritional
Both, she said, were unnecessary – as we had
perfectly good water from our taps and, with some
exceptions, supplements were not needed with a
healthy diet. She felt the future trend for diet
was not good.
"People are going to increasingly work long hours
and have long commutes to work and be time poor,"
The resounding advice from the experts is, if it
sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The
only trend they recommend is a well-rounded and
healthy diet with regular exercise.